Why and When Should You Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins?

supplement vitamins

Prenatal vitamins are a generic term for prenatal vitamins. The label Prenatal (which means “prenatal” or “intrauterine”) can be found on many caring products, but most often, it is present in the name of vitamin products, iodine liquid drops, created especially for women preparing to become a mother. It is such preparations that will be discussed in this article.

What happens if I don’t take prenatal vitamins?

However, nature has arranged it so that in the absence of necessary substances in the mother’s diet, the developing fetus, one way or another, will get them from the tissues of her body. If a pregnant woman cannot timely replenish these supplies, her body is severely depleted, which is manifested by a deterioration of the skin, hair, nails, and teeth, the occurrence of such pathologies as varicose veins, hypertension, and depression. Vitamins for pregnant women allow avoiding such consequences, providing the child with all the necessary substances for normal development without compromising the future mother’s health.

Prenatal vitamins: preparation

Vitamin preparations labeled “prenatal” are quite a lot today. Depending on the manufacturer, they may differ in the form of release (tablets, capsules, syrups, solutions, etc.) and the quantitative and qualitative composition. And the effectiveness of a particular remedy depends on the combination and dosage of beneficial substances in it and their sources, degree of purification, and manufacturing technology. In most cases, it depends on how effective and safe is a particular vitamin-mineral complex. It is no secret that the use of dyes, fragrances, and other auxiliaries does not benefit either the mother or the baby, so it is better to give preference to certified products and pure iodine drops.

Prenatal vitamins: complex

Pregnancy is a very complex process, and its success requires a timely intake of all the necessary components and pure iodine liquid. Each part of the prenatal vitamin complex contributes to the health of mother and baby:

  1. Folic acid – ensures the normal development of the fetal brain and creates the prerequisites for the formation of the child’s intelligence in the future;
  2. Vitamin A – essential for its intrauterine growth;
  3. Vitamin B1 and B3 – necessary for the proper formation of the nervous system and muscle tissues of the fetus;
  4. Vitamin B2 – promotes average fetal growth, prevents premature birth;
  5. Vitamin B5 – controls the synthesis of sex hormones in the female body;
  6. Vitamin B6 – reduces symptoms of early toxicosis, reduces nervousness, prevents cramps in the calf muscles of pregnant women. In addition, this vitamin is essential during the laying of the child’s central nervous system.
  7. Vitamin B12 – is responsible for the development of the nervous system and the processes of hematopoiesis, and also prevents the occurrence of anemia, tachycardia, and general weakness in the pregnant woman;
  8. Vitamin C – is a direct participant in the formation of the placenta, improves iron absorption, increases immunity;
  9. Vitamin D and calcium – ensure the development of the baby’s bone system;
  10. Iron – is necessary for producing red blood cells, which supply oxygen to the mother and baby. Iron deficiency leads to oxygen starvation of the fetus, slowing its intrauterine development and premature birth;
  11. Vitamin E – provides growth and elasticity of the uterus, as well as the normal functioning of the placenta;
  12. Biotin – controls carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the expectant mother’s body. Lack of this vitamin negatively affects a woman’s condition: constant nausea, decreased appetite, drowsiness, and general malaise occur.

Prenatal vitamins: use

The label “prenatal” on the vitamins determines the scope of their application – this type of drug is designed for pregnant women, although their reception is appropriate and at the stages of planning and nursing a child. Many experts recommend taking prenatal vitamins and liquid iodine supplement at least a month before the common conception to prepare the body in advance for the stresses associated with carrying a baby.

Some people believe that complex preparations for pregnant women are a great alternative to conventional vitamins due to the increased concentration of nutrients. However, this is not the case – the use of prenatal drugs for no reason does not bear anything but harm because it threatens to develop hypervitaminosis. Even during pregnancy, taking vitamins should not be continuous. It is preferable to use them in 2-3 months courses, followed by a break.

Prenatal vitamins: for pregnant women

There is an opinion that taking prenatal vitamins for pregnant women is not necessary if she adheres to the proper lifestyle and a nutritious diet. To some extent, this is true. In the absence of bad habits and a balanced diet, a pregnant woman’s body only needs an additional source of iron and folic acid, and everything else can be obtained from food.

However, the problem is that modern vegetables, fruits, and grains do not always get all the necessary substances because of the depletion of the soil they grow. In addition, the heat treatment of foods significantly reduces their nutrient content. For example, boiling or braising fish loses up to 35% of vitamin A, and cooking fruits and vegetables lose 70% of vitamin C. In addition, to fully meet all the body’s needs for vitamins and minerals, you need to carefully monitor the amount of intake of certain foods, observing specific proportions, which is not always convenient. That’s why prenatal vitamin complexes are justified even for adherents of a healthy diet.

What happens if you take prenatal vitamins while pregnant?

For women who have bad habits or any health problems, the use of such preparations is necessary? Obligatory intake of prenatal vitamins is essential:

  • women with multiple pregnancies;
  • women with addictions (smoking, drinking alcohol);
  • women with a history of illnesses associated with vitamin or micronutrient deficiencies (for example, iron deficiency anemia);
  • women who have had a miscarriage or who have given birth to a child with abnormal development;
  • Women over 30 years of age.

Vitamins labeled “prenatal” receive many reviews on the Internet. For the most part, they are positive – women note a burst of vigor, improved skin, hair, and general well-being, which is confirmed by tests. In particular, vitamin complexes significantly increase hemoglobin levels in the blood. Many pregnant women are advised to choose American prenatal products because they are well tolerated without causing discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract and stool problems.